Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Make a Difference - Part 2

The #2 food to add to your diet is whole grains.

Part of the reason I dislike the idea of the raw food diet is because it totally disregards the staple of mankind - baked bread. Biblically, you see the term 'bread' and 'food' used interchangeably. Some would argue that baking bread on a rock in the sunlight (dehydrating) is the way to go, but that is not historically the way bread is usually made.

Bread is filling, contains many minerals and vitamins, and the right kinds of grains provide complex carbohydrates and protein in a convenient and great-tasting package. It is also less expensive and a great choice for the majority of us who cannot afford to purchase tons of produce to make up the majority of our diets.

To Sprout or Not to Sprout... That is the Question

Do you soak grains or beans? How long are you supposed to soak them? Should you allow them to sprout? Are there dangers to eating too much sprouted food? Is it even worth the effort to sprout grains that are going to be baked? What about naturally fermented sourdough bread?

Soaking makes a lot of sense. Beans become more digestible when soaked, and soaking grains is a definate help to those with irritable stomach issues or difficulty with digestion. However, Nourishing Traditions says that eating unsoaked grains is bad because they contain phytic acid which is harmful. Sue Becker clears up this misunderstanding: when you eat bread containing phytic acid, it actually stimulates your small intestine to manufacture the enzyme phytase, which solves the problem since phytase will allow you to eat and digest phytic acid. When phytase activity is increased in the small intestine, mineral absorbtion is also increased! Phytic acid also protects the colon from cancer. It also releases Inositol (a B vitamin), Choline and Lecithin - all a part of keeping cholesterol at the proper level and reducing depression.

So I would recommend eating both soaked and unsoaked grains, but primarily unsoaked.

And what about fermentation:

The way I understand it, there are two kinds of fermentation:

Alcoholic (ethanol) fermentation: yeast and certain types of bacteria feed on sugar (like the fructose in grapes) and form ethanol and carbon dioxide. In wines, the alcohol is the desired ingredient, and the carbon dioxide is released. In bread, the baking process gets rid of the alcohol.

Lactic acid fermentation: certain bacteria (lactobaccili is one) and fungi turn sugar into lactic acid (think milk products). This sometimes further breaks down into carbon dioxide, but does not create alcohol.

So when you put whole grain flour into a jar with an equal amount of water, let it sit on the counter for a few days, the bubbling that occurs is ethanol fermentation acting on the carbohydrates. When you bake bread using that as a starter, the result is 'Sourdough' because the sugars have been pre-digested. You also do not have to use yeast, because the natural yeast will cause your bread to rise. Fermentation (and I believe sprouting as well) increases the enzyme content of food, but since enzymes are destroyed in the baking process, the most benefit is seen when you eat raw sprouts and raw yogurt from lacto-fermentation.

Again, I love the taste of sourdough, and variety in your diet is always good. But it is not the first and only option in the art of breadmaking.


Buy whole grains from a co-op dedicated to acquiring non GMO products from local producers. You avoid a lot of the plastic packaging and waste that happens when you buy supermarket fare, and save a lot of money in the process.

Have an 1/8th acre or so lying around? Grow your own! This is so worth it if you develop superior soil. Information on how to do this is found in the book, 'Nourishment Home Grown' by A. F. Beddoe.

My list of grains for bread-making in order of preference (taste, performance and nutritional value):

1. Spelt (great taste and nutrition, as it is the ancestor of wheat)

2. Hard White Wheat (good taste, not as good nutritional value)

3. Kamut (I have not used this too much, as it is expensive, but very good for you)

4. Hard Red Wheat (makes a dense bread, and the flavor is not as good, but is higher in protein)

For rolls, pastries, pie crusts, cookies, etc. use Soft White Wheat (any of the above work as well, but the soft white wheat is a good transition grain for your family as it's color and texture are light).


Get a grain mill. I have been pleased for the most part with my Nutrimill, but the motor and electric parts require a professional to service it when any problem occurs, so I would love to have a manual grain mill (stone-ground) someday. Don't have enough money for a mill? See if a friend would let you use theirs, or perhaps your local health-food distributer has a source, or buy a used one, or use your blender (this produces course flour, but when you are just starting out, may be a good choice).


Flour is almost completely rancid and worthless within 24 hours of milling. This means you are paying for something that may be harmful, not helpful. The one exception to this is oats - I would recommend buying a big bag of thick rolled oats and freezing them in ziplock bags. If you do not have room, store in a cool pantry, and focus more on your other grains. Brown and wild rice needs to be stored in the freezer.


Get those tasty whole grains into your family's diet in every way possible. It's amazing how many options there are!

* Oatmeal (soak for a day in the crockpot with a couple T. of whey, then cook overnight with a bit of salt and butter. Serve the next morning with raw milk, raisins, nuts, coconut, cinnamon, and raw honey)

* Granola - combine 10 C. rolled oats, 1 C. wheat germ or oat bran (I don't advocate separating germ/bran from the whole grain, but adding a bit extra into the diet won't hurt), 2 C. dried shredded coconut, 2 C. sunflower seeds, 1 C. sesame seeds, 3 C. chopped nuts, and flax seeds in a large bowl. Heat 1 1/2 C. honey/maple syrup/agave (a mixture is good), 1/2 C. blackstrap molasses, 1 1/2 C. water, 1 1/2 C. olive/coconut oil, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 T. each real vanilla and orange extract in a saucepan over low heat until dissolved and well-combined. Mix wet and dry ingredients together, and spread granola on trays in your dehydrator. Once completely dry, store in bags in the freezer what you will not use right away.

* Brown Rice - 1 C. rice to 2 C. water. Add salt, butter, spices, chicken broth, beans, sliced almonds and other ingredients for variety and flavor.

* Whole Grain Crackers (Nourishing Traditions) - Mix 2 1/2 C. spelt flour with 1 C. raw plain yogurt and leave covered overnight. Then add 1 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 C. soft butter, and 2 T. sesame seeds and mix well. Roll dough out to about 1/8th inch thick and slice into cracker-size squares. Place on dehydrator sheets and dry well. Very delicious tart flavor!

* Rice 'n' Oat Bran Cereal (Sue Gregg) - Bring 3 C. water to boiling, whisk in 1 C. oat bran, 3/4 C. coursely ground brown rice, and a couple dashes of salt. Continue to cook it and as it thickens, gradually add 3 C. real milk and finish it off with a bit 'o real butter. Serve with a natural sweetener, if desired. This is a real family favorite - my sisters ask, 'are we having 'fawina' today?' (we used to buy refined cream of wheat (also known as Farina) at the grocery store, and this looks a lot like it but is better for you).

* Popcorn - use a kettle over the stove.

* Cream Cheese Breakfast Pastries (Nourishing Traditions) - combine 1/2 C. soft butter, 1 C. homemade cream cheese, and 2 C. whole wheat pastry flour and let sit overnight. In the morning, add 1/2 C. rapadura (or other natural dry sweetener), 1 T. vanilla, and 1 tsp. salt and mix well. Roll into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick on floured cutting board and spread 1/4 C. melted butter, 2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 C. chopped pecans or walnuts over the top. Roll up starting from the long side (cinnamon-bun style), slice the roll into 1 1/2 inch lenths and place on a cookie sheet to bake at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes. These are rich and a satisfying treat.

* Spelt Bread (Sue Gregg) - I love the flavor of this bread. Proof 2 tsp. yeast in 1/4 C. warm water with 1/2 tsp. honey. Blend in a separate bowl 2 C. cool water, 3 C. spelt flour and add the yeast mixture. Cover bowl and let sit overnight. Then add 2 tsp. salt, 1/3 C. olive oil, 1/3 C. honey, and enough spelt flour to become correct consistency (about 6-7 C.). Knead for about 20 minutes (or in your food processesor), set in greased bowl and let rise for about 1 1/2 hours (if placed in a pre-warmed oven, it takes less than an hour) until risen double. Punch dough down, divide and place in bread pans. Let rise for 45 minutes until double. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.

Bread really is good. I don't have the technique even close to being totally correct, but I'm learning, and always appreciate some tips from those of you who are experts in this area.

* Sourdough bread - there really is nothing simpler than making the starter for homemade sourdough. Add 2 C. rye flour (I have tried using wheat, but rye really is the best choice) to 2 C. cold water, let sit in a bowl on the counter covered with a cloth, and each day dump in a clean bowl and add a small amount of rye flour and water to feed the fermentation. The dark liquid, bubbling, and 'sour' smell are all normal. After a full week, you can use in breadmaking, store in the refrigerator, keep adding more flour/water, whatever. Traditional sourdough is basically using a quart or two of starter, adding some flour and water until it is the correct consistency, and adding about 1 tsp. salt per loaf of bread. Then you divide and place in bread pans, let rise for 4-12 hours in a warm place, and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. If you need specific amounts, please consult a good recipe :)

And last but not least, transition your family from white flour by adding half whole grain flour to any recipe - cornbread, muffins, cookies, cakes, pies, rolls, everything! The flavor is excellent, and the only downside is a slightly heavier, more filling, and perhaps drier/crumblier texture that takes some getting used to. Now, everything made with white flour just tastes bland to me.


Other foods I include in this all-important category are:

* Raw nuts (soak in a salt water solution for a day, then dehydrate for good flavor/digestibility)


- Add to smoothies

- Use as snacks

- Add to granola, cereal, even grind in a blender and add to breads

Nutty Butter Balls (Sue Gregg) - Chop and mix together: 1/2 C. dried fruit, 3/4 C. nuts, 1/4 C. wheat germ, 1/4 C. rolled oats, 1/4 C. dried coconut, 3/4 C. nut butter, 2 T. raw honey, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Roll into balls and refrigerate. Yum!

* Seeds (sunflower, sesame, flax, poppy, pumpkin)


- Use same as nuts

Sunflower Biscuits (Sue Gregg) - mix together 1 C. ground sunflower seeds, 1 C. whole wheat pastry flour, 3 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, 2/3 C. buttermilk, and 4 T. melted butter. Drop by large spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 for about 15 minutes. Absolutely heavenly with raw honey!

* Beans

- Soak in leftover beef roast drippings, add salt, onions, garlic, herbs/spices and cook in crockpot for a great side dish.

- Lentils and rice

- Beef and bean stew

- Soup

- I've even heard of grinding beans and adding to bread

So go for it! Add these tasty foods one at a time and see the results in your health. I've heard it takes 10 times of introducing a food until most kids will actually eat it and like it, and it seems to be true. My brothers love some of the breads that I make, and other foods have even become all-time favorites which they prefer over unhealthy versions.


King's child said...

I'm seeing spots! And Swirls! Gracious, Emily! Thou has't made me dizzy!

Both posts have been very good and challenging for me. Thanks for writing! :D


Garden of Glory said...

I've never succeeded in making someone see swirls before... it must be a new record ;)

There's even more I could say, but sounds like a shouldn't for your sanity's sake!

I'm glad you've been challenged.